iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Hurricane Matthew brutalized the Southeast coast for four days before weakening and veering out over the Atlantic Ocean Sunday, leaving a trail of devastation with at least 24 dead, over one million homes and businesses without power, and billions of dollars in damage.
Matthew wreaked havoc in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia before it was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone Sunday as it headed east over the Atlantic.
The death toll spans all five states: at least 10 people were killed in North Carolina, six died in Florida, four in Georgia, three in South Carolina and one in Virginia.
The storm brought winds of up to 100 mph, as much as 15 inches of rain and powerful storm surges of up to 9 feet to some areas.
Millions of people’s lives were disrupted, with the evacuation of more than three million coastal residents; the closing of hundreds of roads including parts of Interstate 95 — a major East Coast artery; the halting of Amtrak service in the Southeast; and the cancellation of thousands of airline flights.
North Carolina is one of the last states affected by Matthew and one of the hardest-hit.
At least 10 deaths in the Tar Heel state have been attributed to the storm, and at least five people are missing, Gov. Pat McCrory said Monday morning. There have been over 1,400 water rescues in North Carolina — a number expected to rise, the governor said.
McCrory said the greatest threat right now is flooding in areas away from the coast, which is expected to continue throughout the week.
Across the South, over one million homes and businesses are without power Monday morning. There are over 465,000 outages in North Carolina; 455,000 outages in South Carolina; 140,000 outages in Georgia; and 175,000 in Florida.
Initial estimates are that Matthew has caused insured losses of $4 billion to $6 billion, according to CoreLogic, but the preliminary number likely underestimates the storm’s total impact. Experts say Matthew could be the costliest storm to hit the United States since Superstorm Sandy in 2012, which had an estimated $68 billion in damages.
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